Department of the Environment

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Publications archive - Annual reports


Key departmental publications, e.g. annual reports, budget papers and program guidelines are available in our online archive.

Much of the material listed on these archived web pages has been superseded, or served a particular purpose at a particular time. It may contain references to activities or policies that have no current application. Many archived documents may link to web pages that have moved or no longer exist, or may refer to other documents that are no longer available.

Department of the Environment and Heritage Annual Report 2002-03

Department of the Environment and Heritage, 2003
ISSN 1441 9335

Operation of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (continued)

1. Protecting the environment (continued)

1.2 Protecting the environment where proposals involve the Commonwealth

Actions on Commonwealth land and Commonwealth actions

Seven actions were determined to require approval under the Act because of impacts in relation to Commonwealth land. One additional action by the Commonwealth (through a Commonwealth agency) was also controlled under the Act. Four of these actions were also controlled because of national environmental significance.

The Department of Defence referred a proposal to conduct a joint USA-Australia military training exercise at various locations across northern Australia known as Crocodile 03. This was determined to be a controlled action.

One controlled action that had Commonwealth land as a controlling provision was approved. This was installation of an optical fibre cable between Corroboree Park and Jabiru along the Arnhem Highway, Northern Territory, through Kakadu National Park.

Advice on authorising actions
Section 160 of the Act requires Commonwealth agencies or employees of the Commonwealth, before authorising certain actions, to obtain and consider advice from the Minister, where those actions are likely to have a significant impact on the environment. Actions include foreign aid projects, managing aircraft operations in airspace, adopting or implementing airport development plans and other actions prescribed in the Regulations.

During 2002-03, three projects were referred to the Minister under section 160, one AusAID project, one airport development plan and a permit under both the Sea Installations Act 1987 and Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Act 1975. The AusAID proposal is to fund a project to collect persistent organic pollutants from 13 Pacific Island countries for disposal in Australia. The countries involved are densely populated small island states lacking the resources and capacity needed to treat and dispose of these chemicals. Lack of awareness of the hazardous nature of these chemicals, and poverty, contribute to their unsafe storage, leading to human exposure and environmental contamination. The Department assessed this proposal and recommended to AusAID that the proposal proceed subject to additional environmental safeguards.

The Department of Transport and Regional Services referred a major development plan for a warehousing and distribution park at Perth Airport. This was still being assessed as of 30 June 2003.

The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority and the Department of the Environment and Heritage referred the proposed Sunlover Pontoon to be situated off the coast of Cairns. The proposal is being assessed by way of an accredited assessment process (a public environment report) under the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Act and the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Regulations 1983. As of 30 June 2003, the public environment report was being finalised prior to its release for public comment.

A summary of the status of actions referred to the Minister for advice under section 160 is in Appendix 1 of this report.


On 25 February 2003 the Minister, in the interest of Australia's defence and security, declared that actions, as deemed appropriate by the Australian Government, undertaken outside the Australian jurisdiction in relation to the training, deployment and operation of members of the Australian Defence Force in the Persian Gulf region in support of any military action against Iraq are actions to which section 28 of the Act does not apply.